Blended Learning A look into the mix...

What is Blended Learning?

Why is the blended instructional approach transformative? Blended instruction can look different in every classroom. No class environment is the exact same and with the flexibility to create a 21st century classroom, using blended learning will allow for a more personalized learning experience for every student. This adds value to student retention and overall self confidence.

What are the three key attributes of blended learning? In an article written through Powerschool, in agreement with the author, the three key attributes to blended learning are:

1.There is a clear strategy behind the use of different modalities.

2. There is a strong classroom culture in place that is widely shared and practiced.

3.The teacher has an engaged role and is using the technology to get to know students better.

The Basics of Blended Instruction:

Within my own classroom, I use blended learning everyday. Most every student that owns a seat in my room is tech savvy and enjoys working on their MacBooks for the duration of my class. I utilize this strength with engagement in a variety of online tools used to integrate my content into popular learning strategies amongst my students population. My goal is to push as far as I can in order for my student's voices to be heard or their reflections to be read. It's a work in progress but they are certainly proud of their accomplishments made.

In order to create organization in a blended environment, a learning management system must to used. For me, I capitalize on Schoology. This program allows for complete online structure, individualized learning and offers wonderful organizational tools for both the student and myself. It is a vital part of the daily operations of my classroom. This system allows for the fostering of discussion, research, collaboration, and speaking & listening skills for my students. They work together without realizing it and for those that struggle to speak up in a physical group, can give their opinions in a less timid environment. The benefits showcase student knowledge in an easy and accessible way for both the student and myself. Expert group collaboration takes place because of the easiness to complete each task assigned in an organized way. There is no middle ground holding a group of students back from doing their best. With freedom to the web, students are more in tune to researching their desired answer. This can benefit me in the event that I am not available to answer a question.

With blended learning comes creative steps in staying connected to each pupil in instruction. I choose to participate in a lot of 1 on 1 conversations with my students. Most of the time, it just needs to be repeated and every student hears differently. I work diligently on personalizing my student's education so that can utilize a blended space to it's potential.

Blended Learning and Technology Integration:

Technology integration involves limited use to online tools for students to have in the classroom. Whereas, blended learning offers the unlimited amount of resources to continuously be at the fingertips of any child. The biggest difference is amount used from day to day.

The flipped classroom- Pro and Con:

Pros- Almost every article or opinion that I read/heard gives great information on the value that blended learning brings to the classroom. Students enjoy it, teachers have a more flexible environment for 1 on 1's and the ability for online organization to occur.

Cons- Not everyone learns best through a screen. This is hard fact to realize and swallow. We may think that this generation is equipped to handle online tools, but certain times prove that statement to be false. It can provide another distraction for students to choose.

The scorecard on blended learning: The impact on student learning in a blended environment is priceless. The flexibility that it provides in inviting and intriguing. While it is fun to explore, it takes discipline in the art of integrating it into the classroom in order for it to be most effective. Research shows positive results but what do you want it to mean for you and your students? That is the ultimate question. Click on link below for success stories and best practices.

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